Keeping Your Herd STD Free
DULUTH, Georgia (Mar. 31, 2017) — April is Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) Awareness month, and cattle should not be left out of the conversation. Trichomoniasis, or trich, is a costly STD that can quickly spread during breeding season, reducing your calf crop by more than 50 percent.1
There is currently no approved treatment for trich, and with such a volatile beef market, it’s a disease beef producers can’t afford to ignore. The reasons behind the harsh impact trich has on beef herds is threefold:
- There is a reduced calf crop of up to 50 percent due to early embryonic loss or abortion.1
- Lighter weaning weight resulting from delayed conception.
- Infected cattle must be culled and replaced, thereby losing the herd’s genetic improvement.
Knowing the trich status of the bull battery is essential in trich-prone areas. Before bull turnout, ask the all-important question: has trich been introduced into the herd? According to Boehringer Ingelheim senior professional services veterinarian Dr. John Davidson, disease surveillance is the best method to detect the presence of the venereal pathogen in the herd. Ideally, trich tests should be performed during the bull breeding soundness examination before turnout and also after breeding is complete.
Neighboring herds can also be a source of spreading the disease, especially in herds that utilize open-range grazing. “Stay in touch with neighbors to learn if trich has been identified or tested for in their herds. In the same way, be a good neighbor yourself and talk to your local veterinarian about testing your herd for trich very soon,” Dr. Davidson recommends. To know if your herd is at a higher risk level, visit TrichRegs.com, which indicates which states are commonly impacted by trich, as well as your state’s Animal Health Agency. Ranchers with little to no understanding of trich are 3.3 times more likely to have an infected bull.2 Dr. Davidson strongly suggests producers visit TrichConsult.org to up their knowledge on the disease.
While there is no approved treatment for trich, there is currently one vaccine available that has been proven to reduce the shedding of T. foetus, the disease causing organism – TrichGuard®. A 1992 study compared pregnancy and calving rates between beef heifers vaccinated with TRICHGUARD and control heifers after heifers were exposed to T. foetus-infected bulls and intravaginally inoculated with 10 million T. foetusorganisms. Vaccinated heifers delivered twice the number of calves – 61 percent versus 31 percent – compared to non-vaccinated control heifers.3
Reproductive health of the herd shouldn’t be an avoided conversation, and trich should be managed the other 11 months of the year, too. Take control today and put management practices in place to avoid a trich wreck.